Sunday, November 21, 2010
Now That The Fix Is In And Cathie Black Will BeThe New Chancellor. Where Will The Budget Cuts Come From In The DOE?
The New York Post printed an article called " It's Slash And Learn For Black" on what she will be doing as the new Chancellor of the New York City Schools now that the New York State Department Of Education's Commissioner, David Stiener has fixed it that the committee will recommend that she gets a waiver. One of the first things she will need to confront will be the allocation of deep budget cuts that will need to be made at the DOE. We are talking about 5.2% for this year and next. Of course if Joe Klein was still Chancellor, I could guess where the cuts would not come out of, Tweed. However, Kathie Black's strong suit is she is a ruthless cost cuter and does not blink about firing large numbers of employees. Therefore, assuming the budget does not change, he is my educated guess.
To show that she means business, look for significant cuts at Tweed and their highly-paid consultants that have escaped the previous budget ax under Joel Klein. I wouldn't be surprised if she reduced the Deputy Chancellors by at least half and encouraged many of the Joel Klein holdovers (cronies) to leave the hall of power. Remember, these are Joel Klein's people, not Cathie Black's. She is no tool (except for Bloomberg) and I hope there is a real housekeeping at Tweed. That doesn't mean that she won't bring her own people in, of course she will but I still look for significant budget cuts at Tweed. Unfortunately, for the Instructional and Field Support Staffs, look for massive cuts here since many people believe these areas are just another level of bureaucracy since Cathie Black will try to limit cuts to the schools and doesn't want her legacy starting with cuts that have direct impacts on the children. I also believe their will be significant cuts in Building Services and reduce the custodial force significantly and rein in Custodial abuses. Another area is the Transportation and Food Services as these are easy areas to cut fat from as these areas historically were used to hid mid-level managers who were either out of favor with Tweed or just could not cut the mustard somewhere else in the school system.
Of course the major cuts will still come from the schools as each Principal will be given a reduced budget to live with. The question is where will they cut? The best guess will be the elimination of school aides, support personnel, and programs. No school wants to eliminate teachers and see their class sizes rise. If some schools do suffer from a lower student body, some teaches would be excessed and maybe retiring or resigning teachers will not be replaced. The same goes for the Administrators. Therefore, most schools should see little reduction in teachers and administrators. In fact, I would not be surprised if Cathie Black tells principals they must hire the ATRs because the hiring freeze will continue for the this and the next school year since the City and Tweed has already been criticized for raising class size despite funding to lower it and she does not need large class size increases at the start of her tenure, at least if I was her.
Yes, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed laying off 6,186 teachers next school year but with a teacher attrition rate of 2,000, the layoffs are 4,100. However, if you remember the Mayor proposed 8,400 teacher layoffs last year only to have no layoffs at all. Look for the same thing to happen here. The Mayor will probably include in his tenure proposal that the "last in, first out" layoff order should be eliminated. If anybody really believes he can get the State legislature to approve it over Statewide and united union opposition then I have a bridge to sell you. Furthermore, Bloomberg always starts off with a "doomsday budget" that under-counts the tax revenue and overstates the unemployment rate. The City is slowly emerging from the recession (New York generated the most new jobs of any other state last month) look for budget revisions that will be less dire. Only time will tell what the magnitude of the budget cuts will be and where they will land in the DOE. However, this is my best guess.
I must point out that external issues might complicate Cathie Black's problems For example less than expected State and or Federal aid, a PERB arbitration decision on the over year overdue teachers' contract and how firmly the union holds the line on tenure, seniority, and the ATR time limit. The third rails of union strength where the UFT cannot and will not compromise on.